LilyA flower which is often included in religious and mythological paintings because of its symbolic associations. White lilies are generally thought to represent purity and so are related to the status of the Virgin Mary. They are often included in scenes of the Annunciation to the Virgin, either in the hand of the Angel Gabriel or in a vase.
The flower is also an attribute of other saints such as Catherine of Siena and Anthony of Padua.
In his painting of 'The Origin of the Milky Way' Tintoretto shows the milk spilled from Juno's breast which flowed upwards to create the constellations and down to earth to be transformed into lilies, but the lower part of the painting, which would have represented this, has been lost.
The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN